Getting Slim With Semantics

At the User Conference we talked to our customer Mr Treinen from the publishing house Bundesanzeiger Verlag. We wanted to know what motivates him in his work and which features he values in content management and authoring tools.

SCHEMA: Mr Treinen, the Bundesanzeiger Verlag is a special kind of publishing house. Some of our readers, however, might not know about it. Can you briefly describe your employer’s area of activities?

Gerhard Treinen: In 1949 the Bundesanzeiger Verlag in Cologne started out as the publication and proclamation medium of the federal republic of Germany, i.e. we publish bulletins but also legally relevant company news. Over the years we developed and now comprise three departments, the central risk service, the publishing department and the specialized publishing house where I work.

SCHEMA: “specialized publishing house”, firstly this makes me think of a lot of books.

Gerhard Treinen: The times where specialized publishing houses only published books are long gone. By now there is hardly a publishing medium we do not serve. From books and newspapers to DVDs (e.g. with dangerously goods labels) and newsletters to online publications.

SCHEMA: Is it not a very complex task to juggle all these products at the same time?

Gerhard Treinen: It is indeed. Especially when different types of texts are mixed, for example laws, comments and articles for magazines. Or you want to offer your readers the opportunity to specifically search content with certain “properties”. In online products you often want to create interconnections between texts per Ajax or functions are assigned to content.

SCHEMA: And how do you manage this?

Gerhard Treinen: We tried to solve this by using semantic XML in a DTD. This, however, increases complexity and thereby puts more burden on the technical writers. Customizing the semantic DTD to the CMS is elaborate as well, especially during production and with updates.

SCHEMA: A difficult problem. How did you solve it in the end?

Gerhard Treinen: Fortunately we came across a universal element in ST4 which is even included in the basic configuration, the “fragment”. These fragments have interesting features. They can be used almost anywhere and can incorporate arbitrary text structures. They can be nested – especially interesting for cascading styles – and besides they can be furnished with controlling “ST4 properties”.

Thus we achieve a similar grade of semantic statements with a near standard ST4 DTD as we did before with a complex DTD. This makes editing the content much easier and at the same time require less customizing. Earlier we had to consider 95 elements of our own in the DTD, now it is only 5. This means our update capacity has been restored!

SCHEMA: That sounds good. What does this in fact mean to you?

Gerhard Treinen: Well, first of all we were able to reduce our expenses drastically. As less customization means less maintenance. This saves in annual support costs for us. What is at least as important: We can now react much more flexibly when there are new requirements to the content.

SCHEMA: Is this solution applicable to all ST4 customers?

Gerhard Treinen: This must be decided for each case individually. But one thing is sure: (In the long run) it is more cost efficient and simpler to adapt the production line to the CMS than vice versa.

SCHEMA: And as a concluding question: What else would you wish for in ST4, in which aspects of your work could we support you even more?

Gerhard Treinen: As we are creating a lot of print products, layout is an important topic in our company. A closer integration into the CMS would therefore be nice. With the ST4 Page Layout Designer, some innovations have been made and I am looking forward to getting a closer look at it during the conference.

SCHEMA: Thank you very much for this interesting interview.

Gerhard Treinen: Not at all.

Interview with: Gerhard Treinen, Bundesanzeiger GmbH

Gerhard Treinen worked for serveral publishing houses in the publication departments, responsible for the production of various print products. In 2007 he switched internally at the Bundesanzeiger to the area of IT & Technology and is responsible for the maintenance and development of CMS-controlled processes and products, including incorporating the authors and prepress service providers into production processes, and defining and creating processing environments for online products.

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